Monday, June 04, 2018

Dino lives again


Hey pallies, likes it's Day 4 of our marvelous month long celebration of the 101 anniversary of our most beloved Dino's birthday, what we tag here at ilovedinomartin as The Day That Coolness Came  To Earth.  Likes we ain't certain how much Dino-adulation that we will be able to uncover on this first year after the Dino-centennial, but we are coolly continuin' to uncover delightful Dino-devotion from years past.

Likes today we take all youse Dino-holics to the new-to-ilovedinomartin pad "THE GLOBE AND MAIL," a perfectly primo online newspaper from Toronto, Canada where a magnificant multi-dimensional essay on the life, times, and teachin's of our Dino was first posted on February 2, 2000.  Scribed by Mr. Peter Feniak, a Canadian multi-talented writer, host, moderator, and speaker, the post "Dino lives again" remarkably reflections on the turn of the twenty-first century Dino-revival that happened for our King of Cool when his new 1999 al-b-um, The Very Best of Dean Martin went golden in Britain and "also topped the charts in Sweden and New Zealand" with it bein' "one of three
new Martin CDs released in Canada."

Likes the unparalleled Dino-bio, "DINO: Living High In The Dirty Business Of Dreams," By Mr. Nick Tosches, Mr. Feniak's potent prose is a mixed bag of Dino-reflections.....with tons of Dino-adulation mixed in with lesser Dino-thoughts.  All in all it is a remarkable read with many thought provokin' Dino-revelations.  We were sweetly smitten to read Peter's report that at the time of it's writin' a youthful Dino-devotee, Mr. Jason Manning then "music director at AM 1040" in Vancouver had "pure joy" over the Dino-revival takin' place.

We hopes all youse Dino-philes will take the time to drink in this primo prose that speaks to the true timelessness of awesome appreciato for our one and only Dino.  We thank Mr. Peter Feniak for this remarkable reflection on our Dino and to checks it out in it's original source, likes simply clicks on the tag of this Dino-gram.

We Remain,

Yours In Dino,

Dino Martin Peters

Image result for The Very Best of Dean Martin  1999

Dino lives again

PETER FENIAK

TORONTO

PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 2, 2000

UPDATED MARCH 23, 2018

Beck, Gomez, Supergrass, Chemical Brothers, Dean Martin.

Dean Martin? On a Best of 1999 Album list? The boozed-up old crooner they chased off television 25 years ago? Yep, Dean Martin -- with a gold record in Britain and sanctification from Q magazine, the ultraglossy bible of all things pop.

The new Very Best of Dean Martin has also topped album charts in Sweden and New Zealand. In Canada, it's one of three new Martin CDs recently released, thanks to the merger of Martin's Capitol and Reprise catalogues. To people like Vancouver's Jason Manning, music director at AM 1040, that's pure joy. "He's suave, he's sophisticated, he can really sell a song and, you know, there's something mysterious about Dean."

Manning is 25. That gives him an advantage in appreciating Dean Martin. Like the Swedes, his memory is unencumbered by late, deadly television images (remember The Golddiggers?) when a slurring, under-rehearsed Martin cemented a reputation as a sexist boor and "the laziest superstar in show business."

Manning and the new Martin fans look at him differently. They like his singing, they like his swagger and they marvel at his incredible life and career. They look back to a time when everybody loved Dino, when highballs were the elixir of choice, chicks were broads, and nobody minded if a lot of smoke got in your eyes.

How do you get a sense of Dean Martin's golden days? Take a snapshot.

Make it 1960. Five years before Martin had been written off as the likely loser in the breakup of the hottest act in show business: Martin and Lewis.

Dean Martin, romantic balladeer, and Jerry Lewis, manic comic impressionist, were friends on the lounge circuit who started to crash each other's shows and liven them up with spontaneous kibbitzing. Audiences ate it up; club owners began to insist on it. What came naturally to Martin and Lewis proved a perfect tonic for a nervous Cold War world. They were irreverent and sexy. They were music and laughs, Everybody wanted to see them. And for a long time the fun didn't stop.

Over 10 years, Martin and Lewis made 17 silly, smash movies, packed the best night clubs in the world and became the most sought-after guest stars in the early days of television (where they also launched the first telethon). But fame brought them down. The neurotic, hyper Lewis began to see himself as an auteur; the cool, detached Martin resented a role as Jerry's sidekick. On stage they were irrepressible buddies; off stage they detested each other.

In the summer of 1956, they called it quits.

 But while the world waited for Jerry's next triumph, Dean Martin started to glow on his own. He kept up the string of hit records he'd started with That's Amore! in 1953, selling his lighthearted love songs ( Volare, Memories are Made of This) with effortless brio, his big-league voice and all-world charm.

In person, audiences connected immediately with the wry, self-deprecating singer. ("I got my nose fixed and now the mouth don't work.") No Jerry, but still fun. Most impressively, he turned himself into a terrific film actor -- holding the screen with Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift in The Young Lions, scoring with his buddy Sinatra in Some Came Running, stealing Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo from John Wayne.

All this time he was buying property, becoming rich, and -- in a stroke of luck he must have loved -- getting free advertising on television's hottest show, 77 Sunset Strip, as teen idol Ed (Kookie) Byrnes parked cars each week at the ultimate in-crowd bar. You could see the famous profile in neon; it was Dino's Lodge.

This is 1960. Just ahead lies Rat Pack classic Oceans 11, more glamour days in Las Vegas with Sinatra and The Clan, more hit records and The Dean Martin Show, which debuted in 1965 at the top of the Nielsen ratings and stayed in that neighbourhood for years. Dean Martin is loved and admired. He is the quintessence of cool, an effortless star, a night-club hearthrob with his scotch and cigarettes who goes home to a pretty wife and tribe of kids.

For a time, Martin could do anything. Sinatra never did figure out television and he blew his top when rock started to take over. Martin kept making hits. When his son, Dino Jr. (later one third of teen sensation Dino, Desi and Billy) came home with a Beatle haircut, Martin laughed and then knocked Hard Day's Night out of the No. 1 spot with a new signature tune called Everybody Loves Somebody (Sometime).

But somewhere it all changed for Dean Martin.

First, he stopped making movies that challenged him. Gradually, he put less of himself into everything he did. The charm grew coarse, the sparkle he brought to his work became forced. Through the seventies, the golden days dimmed. In the eighties, there were only half-hearted turns in Vegas and a brief, disastrous Rat Pack reunion (Sinatra had to beg him to do it). Always remote, by the early nineties, he was all but gone. He ate alone in the same Hollywood restaurant each night. One night, Paul Anka stopped by to pay his respects. "I'm just waiting to die," Martin told him. On Christmas Day, 1995, he did.

Who was Dean Martin? What happened to him? Those secrets he took to the grave. A writer once suggested, "Dean, let's get to know each other before the interview." The usually amiable Martin turned cold and replied: "Nobody gets to know me."

Jeannie Martin, his wife of 20 years, could second that. "I don't know him," she said. "He's either the most complex man imaginable or the simplest. There's either nothing or too much. He was just from another planet."

His parents were from Abruzzi, in central Italy. His father, Gaetano Crocetti, was a barber. His mother, Angela, schooled him in the old ways of the Abruzzese. She told him: "Never let anyone know what is within you."

He learned to be stoic, to smile through it -- as a school kid with his fractured English, as a grownup actor, taking abuse from New York critics. His long-time buddy, Frank Sinatra, was Sicilian -- passionate, troubled, engaged. Not Dean. Martin had an air about him. He was, the legend said, one who did not give a damn. It may have been true.

Martin was born in 1917 in a bustling city called Steubenville in eastern Ohio. Steubenville: also known as Little Chicago and a bootlegger's paradise where, Martin biographer Nick Tosches writes, sin as an industry was second only to steel. Oldtimers there told stories of what Dean might have been. "He was a beautiful [blackjack]dealer. What hands!" said one enthusiastically. Young Dino showed an equal aptitude for running numbers and whisky. And he could fight -- stepping into the ring over 20 times as Kid Crochet.

Martin never loved the mobsters, but they loved him. It's often said that he was the man Sinatra wanted to be. Entertainment is full of macho posturing; Martin didn't have to posture. He was the real thing.

When Dino was coming up, the real thing was Bing Crosby.

A fine natural baritone, Martin took a lot from Crosby, a little from Harry Mills and Jolson. He was tall and handsome, and could turn on the charm. It was his ticket out of Steubenville. Show business: that was a con that could get you places. And look at where he went. Forget the half-baked millennial lists; few entertainers in the recent century hit as many heights as Dean Martin did.

Why did it turn? Maybe the con just got old. He said once, "The best thing that ever happened to me was when I found out you could put on a nice suit and make a buck singing." In time, he had enough bucks, enough suits. Maybe it was sadness.

The loss of his parents hurt him deeply, and when his brilliant son, Dino Jr., crashed his fighter jet into a California mountainside in 1987, Martin is said never to have recovered.

Nick Tosches and others point to substance abuse. Martin's legendary boozing was mostly an act, but his career decline parallels a long-term addiction to Percodan, a powerful prescription painkiller that hits like morphine. The drug wiped out an entire decade for Jerry Lewis too, and was one of the legal substances they found in the dead Elvis Presley, who, as a teenager, had worshipped Dean Martin.

Who was Dean Martin? Was he the cold-hearted con who turned on his fans at the Rat Pack reunion, narrowed his eyes and flicked a lit cigarette into the crowd? Or was he the gentleman performer who was never late, always knew his lines, and left admiring colleagues wherever he went?

"He was a bastard," one chorus girl told Tosches. "All candlelight and wine and a pat on the ass in the morning." But he was one of the few stars to give real friendship to Marilyn Monroe. He despised The Kennedys.

"I always plays to de common folk," he liked to say in his phony southern drawl. But common he was not.

"He was an extraordinary man," says Jerry Lewis, "extraordinary." Jason Manning adds, "There's screw-top wine and there's Dom Perignon. He's the Dom. Listen to his music. He used the best people, Nelson Riddle, all of them. It's classy, it's timeless."

Who was Dean Martin? A powerful vote will go to Martin Scorsese. The great Italian-American director has long been attached to the Dino movie, and his portrait of Martin could be the one that will be remembered. But will that movie ever be made? How do you cast a man who made it all look so easy and did it all with such rare style?

For now, here they are, three new Martin CDs. And there's the face of the old swinger himself. Grinning, inscrutable. If you're buying the myth, he's still selling those songs.

8 comments:

Always On Watch said...

But he was one of the few stars to give real friendship to Marilyn Monroe. He despised The Kennedys.

I knew that first part, but not the second.

It must have, at times, been awkward having Peter Lawford as a member of the Rat Pack.

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Miss AOW, likes as we knows our Dino too everythin' in swank stride and simply remained cooler then cool doin' so. Keeps lovin' our most beloved DINO!

Danny G. said...

Wow!!! Powerful stuff, pals! Peter has s very cool perspective of our pal, Dino! Great way with words also. I love readin’ these types of blogs ‘cause they start to explain why Dean Martin will never go out of style. Cool. Handsome. Funny. Clever. Fresh. Mysterious. Wise guy. Immensely talented. All these thins’ we are drawn to. What’s not to love?! Great post, pallie!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Danny-o, well stated pallie...". I love readin’ these types of blogs ‘cause they start to explain why Dean Martin will never go out of style." How wonderfully wonderful to keep findin' poets and prosers who "get Martin" and share there incredible insights with their remarkable readership. Keeps lovin' 'n sharin' our one, our only DINO!

blueiscoool said...

A powerful blog on Dean for sure. There are so many things I did not know. I think a big problem in his Dean's later life was that he was tired and dealing with the loss of not only his parents and of course his son. It would seem he had the weight of the world on his shoulders trying to be many things to many people. There is a lot to think about in this blog. A great posting as always DMP.

Have a great week.

Scott

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Scotty-o, we are totally totally thrilled to do our Dino-part to help you more and more deeply powerfully ponder the life, the times, and the teachin's of our one, our only DINO!

Always On Watch said...

Who was Dean Martin? What happened to him? Those secrets he took to the grave. A writer once suggested, "Dean, let's get to know each other before the interview." The usually amiable Martin turned cold and replied: "Nobody gets to know me."

Jeannie Martin, his wife of 20 years, could second that. "I don't know him," she said. "He's either the most complex man imaginable or the simplest. There's either nothing or too much. He was just from another planet."


Perhaps, in part, because of the era in which our Dino lived. My father, born in 1911, was much the same way until he was widowed at the age of 76. Only then did I get to know my dad.

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Miss AOW, thanks for that personal sharin'! We believe that I huge part of why pallies loves our Dino so so much in addition to his ultra ubber unparalleled talent was that he was so so unknowable.... Keeps lovin' our most beloved DINO!